Anne West began teaching at RISD in 1996 – three years after earning a PhD in Art and Media Studies from the University of Toronto. Since then her work as a writer, curator, educator and critic has played a defining role in graduate education here.
Within a number of contexts and courses – as instructor, thesis advisor, mentor and critic – West champions the role of thesis writing. Known for fostering rich cross-disciplinary learning environments of inquiry, team building and influence, she teaches seminars such as Mapping the Intelligence of Your Work, Origin Point, Investigations: Betwixt and Between and Graphic Design Graduate Thesis.
West’s pedagogical imperative is to support the individual needs of students by mining the logical bases of their work, helping them to respond to the demands of their ideas in the process of articulating a voice. As a faculty mentor, she curates biannual exhibitions that showcase graduate thesis writing and research. In 2012 she earned the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor accorded to RISD’s most gifted faculty members.
As a writer and curator with research interests in phenomenology and interpretive human studies – including poetics and mapping – West has had projects featured on CBC/Radio-Canada, in museum and gallery exhibition essays in the US and Canada, in art journals and through initiatives with numerous art schools and organizations. Since the publication of her book Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work(Moth Press, 2011), her work has become widely recognized by other institutions – both nationally and internationally – for its leadership in the area of writing and creative practice.
West frequently lectures and conducts workshops at other colleges and universities including Northeastern University, Maine College of Art, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Cornish School of Arts, Kentucky School of Art, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Connecticut College, NSCAD University and Wheaton College. She serves on the advisory committee for Mindful Choices, a pedagogical initiative at Clark University funded by the Mellon Foundation and inspired in part by her work.